Author Archives: Stacey Bruzzese

Sun, Sand and Shoreline – Nuptials Worth Planning For…

Whether local ocean side or island destination wedding, beach nuptials are increasingly popular for a variety of reasons.

“Dress” the Part

Keep it simple. If you have your heart set on a ballgown or other ornate dress, a beach wedding may not be the best choice for you. Simple lines, with a hemline high enough to avoid dragging in the sand is the preferred dress style for this type of wedding. Ruffles and lace can pick up sand and other debris that are part of the beach backdrop.

Skip the Veil & Opt for an “Up Do”

While getting married on the beach can provide stunning views and tranquil sounds of nature, it is typically breezy. To keep your guests (and the photographer) from struggling to capture a full view of you, avoid a veil which may be blowing into your face, or your groom’s. For these same reasons, it is typically better to have an updo that will stay put in the wind.

Toes in the Sand

No heels for sure, unless you want to fight your way through the sand. The best choices for your feet during a beach wedding are flat sandals or going bare foot. Depending on where you are getting married, the temperature of the sand may be a factor. It can get quite hot! Once you decide on sandals or bare feet, have your dress hemmed accordingly.

Keep the Guys Casual

While tuxedos or suits work very well in many indoor venues, the beach calls for something less formal. Depending on your specific taste, linen suit or lightweight slacks and shirt can be less formal but still “dressy,” or you might even consider going for a completely casual look with a pair of Bermuda shorts and bare feet.

Public or Private

Unless you want to invite the general public to witness your vows, you may want to consider the level of beach access the public will have to your wedding spot. There are private beaches that may be available for such an event. Another great alternative is to secure a waterfront rental property, which will also serve as a relaxing refuge in the days and hours before the wedding.

Protect your guests

The sunshine and sea breezes are the reason so many people choose to have their wedding on the beach. Too much of a good thing can be overwhelming or sometimes even harmful. Remember, the elements can be brutal, so prepare welcome bags or stations for guests to pick up the essentials in sun protection. You can include items such as sunscreen, sunglasses, flip flops, personal misters or mini-fans, and tropical themed hats or visors. Also, don’t forget to drink plenty of water! You may also consider setting up a water station for guests to grab a cold beverage before and/or after the ceremony.

Maximize Local Resources
This is especially important when planning a destination wedding. Research the local businesses and community to find out what resources are available to you: the local entertainment and accommodations, traditions, customs and holidays (as they may impact availability of certain items, including staff) and the native cuisine. As much as possible, plan your wedding around what will be available and will not require you to import or over-pack. Local caterers, musicians and more may be just the right elements for an authentic island wedding.

Plan for the unexpected

Since outdoor weddings of any kind are always at risk of weather fluctuations, it is important to plan for the worst. It is impossible to predict “Mother Nature” and even the sunniest of beaches and warmest islands can experience unseasonable weather. Unplanned rain storms, hurricanes, wild fires, and even flooding could severely impact your ceremony. Work with your event planner and the venue to come up with an alternate plan should anything unexpected occur.

The biggest thing to remember is that traditional wedding and reception techniques may not be appropriate for the beach. In addition, being one with nature often means that anything can happen, and therefore probably will. For the best tips, ideas and cautionary tales, it is best to consult with a wedding planner or coordinator to avoid mishaps and eliminate the worry of the unknown.

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Wedding Photographer

Planning your wedding day is one of the most exciting, and taxing times of your life. Making sure that every detail has been researched and planned for, you attempt to create the special day that has been the subject of your dreams. As you prepare for this momentous occasion take extra time in selecting the photographer just right for your style and personality, as your wedding photos will be the one item you can look back at years from now. When you gaze at portraits of that special day you should be taken right back to that moment in time and remember fondly the events of that day.

When selecting the right photographer for your event keep the following 5 Tips in mind.

Style & Quality

A thorough review of the photographer’s portfolio will tell you if you like their photographs. You should understand the style and approach of your photographer by reviewing their collection. Do you like how he/she is telling the “story”? You can ask yourself a few questions to help better understand what you are looking for: Do I like the overall feel of these images? Does the lighting seem appropriate and appealing? Do the people in the images look happy, natural and relaxed? Can I pick out the special elements of the day or event, as seen through the photographer’s eyes?

Once you have narrowed your choice to a couple of professionals, ask to review a sampling of their work representative of their various specialties and skill-sets. Often websites are not up to date with gallery posts, or may not truly be representative of the actual images offered. This allows you to gauge the consistency of their work, so you know exactly what to expect.

Personality

Once you have chosen a few photographers whose work you like, and their style seems to fit your wants and needs, it’s important to conduct an in-person interview. Not only should you enjoy their art, but also their company. A professional trust and genuine likeability factor should be present, allowing you to feel comfortable working with them and relaxed in their presence. A good working rapport with the person behind the camera makes it easier to capture the best pictures, especially the unanticipated moments. Beautiful and inspired wedding photography is mainly a result of having a great relationship with your photographer.

One last thought here, consider your guests as well. The photographer will better capture your family and friends in photos if they are personable and friendly. Assuring they are approachable and down-to-earth allows for candid shots captured throughout the day as it naturally unfolds, rather than forced poses and fake smiles.

Value (Cost vs. Product)

Think of your wedding photographs as an investment. They are expensive, but you get what you pay for – right? These images are meant to last a lifetime, and as such, you want to plan (financially) for something you absolutely love. Though budget may dictate your selection to a degree, be sure that you do not sacrifice cost for quality.

Likely your photographer has a variety of packages and is flexible on what can and cannot be included. Be sure to review options to get what you really want in the end. Do NOT neglect to ask about “hidden extras.” It’s better to know the cost associated with add-ons and upgrades well before the day of the event.

Experience

If you are planning any part of your wedding in a dark or dimly lit venue, or you’re having an evening wedding reception outdoors, you need a photographer that’s skilled with those lighting environments. Review their portfolio for weddings shot in similar lighting environments and ask them specifically how they would handle your particular situation.

When possible, interview photographers who have a lot of experience working at the venue at which you will be married. This eliminates a lot of the guess-work for both of you. Length of experience does not always mean that you will get the photos you were hoping for. If you are selecting a very seasoned photographer, keep a watchful eye while reviewing their collection of works to understand how their style has evolved and modernized over time. Most couples do not want their photos to look like they came from a bygone era.

Recommendations

It’s safe to say that merely asking for a list of references or testimonials is not going to give you an accurate summary of the photographer’s strengths and weaknesses. As you’re interviewing various photographers keep in mind the “must-haves,” the “wish list,” and the “deal-breakers”. Just like all of us, your photographer won’t be perfect, but they can be right for you. Ask up-front what their weaknesses are, as well as what their expectations are for you.

Then ask for a short list of past clients who would be willing to speak with you candidly about their experiences: the flow of their wedding day, the images captured and delivery of the final product. Don’t be afraid to ask them about challenges or disappointments when working with a particular photographer. Whatever their answer, remember that personality is probably partly at play here, yet the information gives you plenty of opportunity to review the total experience.

Closing Thoughts

When you have selected the right photographer for you, be sure to book them as soon as possible. Most in-demand photographers book out well in advance. For a small deposit you can secure them before anyone else does. If you really want to experience what it is like to work with your photographer before the big day, secure them to shoot an engagement session for you. Some photographers may include this in the package, while others may offer it as an add-on or upgrade. Regardless, this precursor to your wedding day will provide a “sneak peek” at the working relationship you can expect, allowing insight into the working style, creativity and personality of the photographer, while you still have time to make a different selection.

Most importantly, remember that quality photographs are one thing you will not likely regret purchasing. They should be the kind of images that will transport you back in time to your wedding day, each and every time you look at them.

 

Wedding Shower Notes – 5 Hacks for Prompt Effortless Thank-You’s

Between showers with family and friends, pre-nuptial gifts from co-workers and wedding presents sent from afar, it can be a challenge to remember who gave what. With the big day approaching, the last thing any bride-to-be needs to worry about is making a mistake in thanking her well-wishers.

Keeping track of the gift givers and their offerings can be hard to do. It is not always effective or reasonable to rely on the matron/maid of honor for keeping notes. Planning strategies for tracking items ahead of time, means more opportunity to enjoy the festivities of the day without the post event P.I. work. Here are some strategies for making it happen.

DIGITAL RECORDINGS

Use smartphones or tablets to capture audio dictation of gifts. This allows you (or someone close to you) to create an itemized list by simply speaking into the device. This method cuts out the deciphering of typos and poor penmanship.

PICTURE THIS

Capture each present as it’s being opened using your photo or video option in your smartphone. This is also a great time to snap a picture with the guest presenting the gift. This make a very nice addition to a handwritten thank you.

PRIORITIZE YOUR RESPONSE

Whether you are a last-minute task maker, or a check-it off the list type of person, sending thank-you notes should be a priority. Instead of procrastinating on a response, answering each person’s offering with a short, but personalized, handwritten note is much easier to carry out when the event (and the gifts) are fresh in your mind. Purchasing thank you cards prior to wedding showers and other events makes this task effortless to begin.

SHARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES

Just as you do not enter into marriage alone, so should you not respond to well-wishers unaided. Recruit your partner to help in the process, making light work of the task. If your future mother-in-law wants to be part of the wedding planning, this is a perfect task to engage her participation.

LABEL IT

Prepare “make ahead” labels with guest names and addresses are an easy way to quickly track items opened at your bridal shower. Recruit a member of your wedding party to locate the correct label and stick it safely to the gift given by that person. An extra set of labels also means you can quickly address the thank you note envelope simplifying the process of thanking your guests even more.

While sending out notes of gratitude to shower guests and other gift-givers should be done within three months of receiving a gift, it is most important to remember that it is necessary to do it. Sending a note of thanks not only conveys your appreciation for the gifts, it also sends a message to the giver that their efforts were appreciated and added to the specialness of the day. This simple act of sending a thank you elevates your reputation with all of those who took part in your celebration. Don’t tarnish it!

Three Great Ideas for Nontraditional Groomsmen Outfits

Most couples get hitched in a traditional white wedding. The bride wears a white gown and tennis bracelet, while the groom complements her outfit with his black tux and sleek accessories. The entourage and the guests may conform to the theme, depending on the couple’s request.

Some may use a variation, like a peach or pink palette, but they still follow the traditional pattern. For most couples that is enough planning for a lifetime.

However, more people are finding the idea of nontraditional weddings attractive. Not only do they make weddings unique, but nontraditional themes may typically cost less than the usual white does, because the materials they use can sometimes be re-purposed from ordinary clothes.

If you want an exquisite yet one-of-a-kind wedding that you and your partner can fondly remember even when you’re well into old age, consider being creative in your themes. Explore some of these ideas for non-traditional groomsmen outfits.

White Casual

White isn’t just connected with traditional white. White signifies purity and perfection, so a plain white shirt can work in a wedding. Despite this being casual, you can pull this off if it’s consistently done throughout your entourage. That includes having matching pants and accessories.

The good thing is, it’s easy to do that with white. White, being a neutral color, suits anything, so any piece of clothing, even jeans, khakis, or slacks, can be paired with a white shirt to form a decent wedding outfit.

And if you’re planning to get personalized groomsmen gifts like custom-made caricatures or bobblehead dolls of your gang in white shirts, they’ll look really neat and stand out from the usual black tuxes.

Beach Palette

Maybe you also want to drift further away from tradition. Maybe you want to take your wedding out of the church and to somewhere calmer instead. Maybe you just want a relaxing ambience for your special day.

A wedding on a secluded beach can be a great idea, especially for outgoing couples. A beach wedding is both tranquil and adventurous. You may want outfits that will channel the mood.

White shirts coupled with light beige pants are the norm, but you can also be bold and pick shorts over pants. You can even go barefoot if the sand is fine enough.

BOHO outfits can be great too. They’re laid-back and can fit any beach function, even weddings.

Patterned Clothes

Most groomsmen wear plain jackets and shirts. However, clothes with patterns are acceptable too as long as they are stylish and not too kitsch. Patterns add personality to one’s overall appearance, but groomsmen should still be careful not to override their groom’s outfit.

Sticking to patterned ties can be a safe and moderate choice. For the grooms who want their entourage to go avant-garde, there are many stylish patterned suits for groomsmen to choose from.

Pick patterns wisely and be careful not to go overboard.

One Last Thing to Keep in Mind

Weddings always revolve around the united couple. However, a groom’s outfit usually functions as a supplement to the bride’s wedding dress and brings out the beauty of the dress and the bride. In turn, the groomsmen’s garments do the same to the groom.

Whatever outfit you choose for your groomsmen, remember to keep it suitable for the other parts of the wedding.

Photo URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/CLD1i8hp008

Engage the Groomsmen – Providing More Groom Time for You

Moving away from the days when the bride handled all of the wedding details, more grooms are getting involved in the planning process. There are a variety of ways for involvement of, not only the groom, but the groomsmen as well. The best way to collaborate on the planning is by first sitting down with your groom and asking him which ways he might like to contribute, rather than randomly assigning him tasks.

When essential tasks can be completed by bridal attendants and groomsmen, the wedding couple is free to focus on the details of the day, and each other. Reducing the stress prior to marriage is a gift in itself.

Below are five suggested ways of engaging the guys – including the groom!

Family Matters

The best approach to building your guest list is working together. The first part of this can be done separately, however, by assigning the groom to take charge of his side of the family (creating the list, determining those needing a special role during the ceremony or reception, family needing special accommodations, etc.). Before you send him off on his own, work together to select the target number of guests and the parameters by which you will invite. Once the guidelines are set, the bride and groom can each take responsibility for their respective side of the family. Then you can then compare lists, strategize together and developing seating assignments.

Team-Building

The groom’s right-hand, the Best Man, can play a vital role in building a “team approach” to getting the groom down the aisle. This begins with building camaraderie between all of the groomsmen, so when the big day arrives each is working in coordination with the other. This can be accomplished through pre-wedding events, such as the bachelor party or other small group outings. When the big day finally comes, the team is ready to make sure that the “boys” are dressed, well groomed and on time for the ceremony! Other duties may apply!

Managing the Checklist

The best man can be a constant reminder to the groom, making sure that the marriage certificate is picked up and brought to the service or assigned to one of the groomsmen for safe keeping during preparation. Other logistical tasks that might be on the groomsmen’s to-do list is delivering the bride’s ring to the best man on the wedding day; ensuring the gratuity for the officiant has been prepared and ready to be handed off following the vows; equipping the wedding party with plenty of tissues for distribution in the event many happy tears are being shed; and transporting guests to and from the venue as needed.

Dressing the Part

Many modern grooms are very willing and interested in selecting their own wedding attire and that of their entourage. A special emphasis should be placed on the groom, as standing out apart from the rest of his groomsmen is particularly important for him. This can be achieved with embellishments to his dress including: pinning on a more sophisticated flower, displaying a more elaborate tie knot, or sporting bolder items such as shoes or vest. Additional accessories might also include patterned socks, glossy lapels, bright pocket squares, or personalized cuff-links. For ideas on non-traditional groomsmen attire click here.

Salute the Happy Couple

Most importantly, BEST MAN – make sure your speech is ready to go!

The difference between a Wedding Planner & Venue Coordinator

You’re planning for the biggest day of your life, your wedding. Imagine all the details it will take to execute the event that you have always dreamed of. You may be considering engaging someone to help with all planning, coordination and execution. Will the venue coordinator at your reception site be suitable for this role? Maybe. Let’s consider the differences between a wedding planner and venue coordinator to help make the decision easier.

Venue Coordinators (VC) can certainly be a valuable connection when scheduling items related to your reception, such as selecting the tables, chairs and linens kept on-site, as well as, meal selections and food counts. Their job, after all, is to act on behalf of the venue to make your affair run seamlessly while on premise. Note – if special colors or styles for linens or décor items are needed, the couple may need to order them separately through a party rental company and arrange for delivery to venue.

A Wedding Planner (WP) will be by your side long before the wedding day and stays tuned-in to your needs throughout the ceremony and reception. They are with you until the last guest has departed and all of your décor, personal belongings and gifts have been packed. Count on your wedding planner to be your right-hand for everything important in the flawless execution of your entire day. Not only will a WP collaborate with a VC to ensure correct placement of guests, gifts, entertainers and receiving lines, she is also available to help out if anything unexpected happens during the day.

Venue

As you might expect, VCs handle items having to do with the venue. Tables, chairs, linens, food. If the venue is handling the catering, the VC will manage the staff, servers and timing of meal, as well as the set-up and breakdown of the tables & chairs. A VC will typically stay on-site until the event has kicked off, or sometimes through the meal, leaving for the day early into the event.

In addition to handling all the items at the venue (either with support of the VC or without), the WP will also handle all coordination of pre-wedding tasks, event flow and scheduling. Managing each element ensures that all details are accounted for and scheduled. Additionally, reviewing needed items periodically to be sure they are correct in number, and in line with event style and theme is also part of the service. Most importantly for day-of flow, WPs will also direct vendors on where and when to arrive, keep them informed of event time-frame and advise on logistical changes, as well as performance execution.

Vendors

A VC will likely provide a list of preferred vendors but typically do not manage any of the coordination with them. Meeting with, selecting and managing the vendors, in addition to coordinating their performance throughout the wedding will fall on the shoulders of the couple and/or the other vendors.

With a WP, the couple can rest assured that every aspect of the entire day will be accounted for and managed providing them with peace of mind. WPs also help select vendors, attend planning meetings leading up to the wedding, assist in reviewing the contracts and become the point of contact for the entire day of the wedding until the last guest departs. Best of all, they move your plan forward assuring that every detail falls into place perfectly the day of the wedding. If the DJ or any other vendor is running late, the WP will devise a plan to cover the gap. If your caterer falls ill and is short staffed for delivery and service, the WP will call in a team to assist.

Timeline

A VC will provide time-frames for doors opening, food service, clean-up and breakdown of tables and chairs. They have been hired by the venue to manage all the logistics required to move events through the site, and they are great at managing these items. They are not, however, fully responsible for your other wedding day plans and special elements or timelines outside of food service. It is not a VCs job to coordinate with outside vendors, inform of any logistical changes (outside of food and beverage) or manage your wedding party. If you are unsure about what your venue will assist with – just ask for an itemized list of services.

When you hire a WP, they work for you – not the venue. So, they will work with the couple prior to the event to map out the happenings of the day creating a smooth event. During the wedding day the WP will coordinate vendor arrivals and drop-offs, devise a detailed plan for and with the photographer, all formal dances, cake cutting, etc.

Direct Access

While you may have worked with one specific VC throughout your pre-wedding preparations, it is possible that you may have someone completely different running the day of events. It’s true the venue will have staff to assist in items included in the contracted agreement, but it might be someone unfamiliar with you and your wedding details.

Reversely, WPs get to know your desires, preferences and expectations prior to the wedding day, and will take control of the details to manage a flawless experience for you and your guests. This includes handing out their cell phone numbers to vendors and the wedding party and answering calls and texts on the fly and executing the detailed timeline they created with your vendor team. They are knowledgeable of the wedding plans and can put out any last-minute fires.

Design

VCs are not equipped for, nor are they compensated by the venue to, help design your perfect wedding. The VCs are overseers of the reception location and may be limited in their knowledge of outside suppliers and opportunities for the couple.

In contrast, WPs assist with the planning and design of your entire wedding. From invitations and floral design, to color schemes and music selections, they act as trusted advisors and hands-on assistants so that the happy couple can enjoy their big day. Beyond the planning, WPs also assist in decorating the ceremony and reception area, cueing the DJ and coordinating all the vendors including any make-up touch-ups for the bridal party prior to the ceremony.

The Bottom-Line

Both a venue coordinator and a wedding planner can be valuable assets to a couple on their wedding day. When they are working together, and fulfilling all their responsibilities as outlined, it produces a smooth and effortless event.

The most important factor influencing your decision to hire an outside wedding planner should be your expectations. If it is important to you that your wedding and the planning process be stress-free and the wedding day is professionally managed by someone who has your best interest in mind, then you may favor a WP, as they will act on your behalf, providing an extra set of eyes, ears and hands throughout the entire process. Essentially, their job includes anything the couple needs, and does not end until the event is over.

As professional wedding planners, we love to work with great venue coordinators. With both a strong VC and a professional WP, it ensures the best experience for our clients.

Floral designs & tips for choosing the perfect wedding flowers

Flowers are an important part of the wedding ceremony and a thoughtful addition to the décor at the reception location. From boutonnieres and bouquets, to seasonal arrangements and petals down the aisles, flowers add color, mood and flair to your special day. How do you choose the floral elements that provide just the right mood, expression and style for your event? See below for tips when making your selections:

Establish a budget

The floral budget will surely influence the flowers used, and the arrangements created {in both size and quantity}, so establish your spending amount early on and share it with your florist. While it is not necessary to over-spend, its important to determine the number of arrangements needed and the types of flowers you wish to include. Often, the larger the budget the more elaborate the design can be. Adding greenery can be a beautiful alternative to pricier floral options.

Pay attention to the venue

Its likely that you have already considered the set-up and décor of the wedding venue when establishing your style, but re-visit it briefly prior to selecting your floral pieces especially if your chosen florist is unfamiliar with the space. Aside from the overall style and the colors that are permanent to the site, stop and review the options for tables, chairs and place settings, as well as any non-moveable decorative or architectural elements within the space. An historic mansion with burgundy and gold-leafed wall coverings may not play well with your dream of pale blue and lavender colored centerpieces. Consider the look and feel of the finished product before committing to a certain flower.

Consider the style of your wedding

Rustic. Traditional. Beachy. Glamorous. Modern. Elegant. What style are you aiming for with your wedding? Flower selections, and the displays used should complement the intended overall style of the wedding. For example, calla lilies provide an aura of time-honored elegance, while a bouquet of hand-tied daisies may reflect a more relaxed tone. If you are going for a “toes in the sand” & wind-swept feel, allow your flowers to reflect that. Your florist can be the best guide in selecting theme appropriate flowers while sticking to the budget.

Incorporate color scheme

Choosing a flower that comes in a variety of colors, such as roses, mums and tulips, means you are more likely to find just the right match for your color-scheme. Of course, your flowers do not have to be an exact color match, but they should complement the theme of the wedding. Consider bridesmaids dresses, table linens, and the internal decor of the wedding venue to avoid negatively contrasting elements.

Embrace the season

While some flowers such as roses and carnations are easily retrieved year-round, others are much more seasonal in nature. Though tulips, daffodils and hyacinths may be plentiful for a spring wedding, they can be nearly impossible to come by later in the year.  A late fall wedding may best utilize hydrangeas and dahlias, as they are plentiful during autumn. While your favorite spring bloom may be available in October, it’s likely that it will be harder to get, which in-turn raises the price tag. Meet with your florist to discuss in-season options that meet both your color requirements and your budget.

Floral traits and meanings

If you are sensitive to smells, do consider the fragrance of the bloom. For example, you may want to avoid lilacs, lilies, jasmine, and gardenias as they are some of the most perfumed flowers. When selecting items for both bouquets and centerpieces you might ask your florist if particular flowers have traditional meanings behind them that may have a significance to you or your fiancé.

25 popular flowers and the meaning they carry:

    1. Alstroemeria – Friendship and devotion
    2. Amaryllis – Splendid beauty
    3. Apple Blossom – Better things to come
    4. Aster – Love and Daintiness
    5. Carnation – Pure Deep Love
    6. Chrysanthemum – Fidelity, optimism, joy and long life
    7. Clematis – Love Vine
    8. Daffodil – Regard and chivalry
    9. Daisy – Innocence, purity and loyal love
    10. Freesia – Trust
    11. Gardenia – Purity and sweetness
    12. Hydrangea – Heartfelt emotions
    13. Iris – Wisdom and Hope
    14. Ivy – Marriage
    15. Jasmine – Amiability
    16. Lily – Purity
    17. Orchid – Exotic beauty
    18. Poppy – Imagination
    19. Rose –  Love
    20. Red Rose – Passionate Love
    21. White Rose – Innocence and Pure Love
    22. Red and White Rose – Unity
    23. Tulip – Perfect Lover
    24. Red Tulip – Declaration of Love
    25. Yellow Tulip – Hopeless Love

Whether or not you are a flower enthusiast, remember incorporating a few blooms into your event will not only soften the space, but also provide visual attraction to the important aspects of the day. For example, the bouquet and boutonniere will highlight the bride and groom, and an arrangement placed at the alter or near the ceremony allows for the “framing” of the honored couple. The bottom-line in choosing just the right options for you is – do your homework prior to engaging a florist, then rely on their expertise & guidance once you do.

8 Considerations When Creating the Wedding Guest List

Committed to each other, and to making your wedding day a special event, you have likely begun to assemble a short list of attendees for your event. Many couples find themselves arguing over the appropriate number of guests, or the control that parents try to have over the invitation list. You and your significant other are in complete control over the guest list, and will likely want to approach the task with a little know-how in your back pocket. Before you let emotion take over, consider the following points.

Budget

Before doing anything else with your guest list decide on your overall wedding budget. While it might seem nice to invite friends from kindergarten you haven’t seen in a decade, or family members who you know by name only, it may not be practical or feasible. Venue costs and catered food are charged on a per person basis. In addition, wedding favors and wedding party welcome bags are costly and may put a dent in your anticipated budget. Set your maximum budget for the festivities and begin your list accordingly.

Vision & Style

You and your partner likely have a vision for your wedding day. When you think of your ceremony and reception, how do you picture it? Longing for a small intimate soiree? Hoping for a family affair? Desperately longing for a large dance floor and plenty of space to cut loose? It’s your special day, so incorporate all of the elements that speak to who you and your partner are as individuals and as a couple. The key is to plan ahead for a successful event.

Venue Restrictions and Capacity

Whether you choose a traditional venue (such as a hotel or country club), a restored barn, treasured historical building, have it beachside or in the backyard under a tent, be mindful of the maximum capacity. Confirm that capacity will not change with the addition of a dance floor, live entertainment, custom decorative elements (such as an arbor) or photo booth. Adding large scale items may decrease the number of people the space can hold.

Target Guest Count

Once you know your limit for the venue or tent size, you can determine your invitee number. If you are seriously limited in capacity, you may choose to only invite immediate family and close friends. If you have more leeway then it may be appropriate to include more extended family, college roommates and co-workers. The best thing to do is for each of you to make a list of the “must-haves”, then the “nice-to-haves” and spend time paring the list down to meet your target number.  Do not invite more people than you have room for based on the venue regulations or the tent size. This can backfire and leave you scrambling just weeks before the wedding.

Parental Rules

Often, parents want input on the guest list. Unless your parents are paying for the entire wedding and reception, you will need to set some ground rules. You may decide to limit the number of guests that parents can request to a fraction of the total invited. Have a conversation with each set of parents and set the expectation. Perhaps you are only inviting people that you keep in touch with on an annual basis. Decide what is right for you as the guests of honor, and stick to the rules that will keep you on track.

Children included

This can be a difficult decision. Do you allow children at the ceremony, the reception or both? Many couples fear the potential disruption and chaos that the addition of kids may cause. Perhaps a compromise is to allow older children, twelve to eighteen years of age as an example, but exclude the younger ones as they tend to have a shorter attention span and may need more direction from parents and other adults. Keep in mind that some people may view a wedding as a family affair and take offense to the “no child” rule. Still others may simply have babysitting challenges that keep them from attending. Whatever you decide, stick to the final decision, as making even one exception to the rule will certainly upset those that were on the wrong side of that omission.

Family, Friends & Co-workers

Assuming you have already planned to include extended family, casual friends and colleagues, you will inevitably need to draw the proverbial line somewhere. Choosing those that make the cut is often harder than it seems.  Unlike your decision to rule the attendance of children in or out, the rest of your guest list should be considered on a situational basis. For example, you may have a great aunt who is extremely important to you, while your significant other has 30 first-cousins that they haven’t visited in years. You may both opt to leave out the cousins and invite a set of close friends instead. Just remember, this is your special day and you will want those people who have held significant roles in your life to be present. It’s perfectly fine to trim the list to meet this need.

Plus-Ones

The addition of plus-one guests can really skew your number quickly. Make it clear from the beginning what the expectation is with add-ons. If you have invitees who have been serious with their significant other for years, or rely on an aid for mobility and transportation, then you would include their names on the invitation. A tip to ensure no write-ins are added to the return card is to have them pre-printed with the expected invitees’ names. This helps to eliminate the guess work, and allows you to track the reply card, since ultimately several guests will forget to write their names in.

Make sure when creating your guest list, that you remember it should be a collaborative effort between the two of you. The bottom line is, both you and your significant other need to feel happy and confident in those you have selected to attend. Do not make it about family politics or one-up-man ship. Instead focus on those people who have an impact on you or your significant other individually, and those that have supported you as a couple. This day is about your commitment to each other, and that is what matters most!

Inspired to bring your BIG IDEAS to Life!

Wedding services, event design and detail coordination

The ring is on your finger, the date has been chosen and the venue booked. Now on to the details. What if someone else could handle those details so that you could enjoy being the “guest of honor” at your own wedding? Inked Events provides more than just “Day of Wedding” coordination services. From full wedding planning and execution, to the planning and deployment of your bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner and wedding party gift bags. Our expertise can be your peace of mind.

Full Planning

From booking venues and caterers following your spectacular engagement to delivering payment to the final vendors as they pack up after an amazing reception (and everything in between) our full planning service leaves you free to dream and enjoy. We bring our ideas and experiences to help you to make the best selections for your big day. Th day is all about YOU, but the work of planning doesn’t have to be!

Partial Planning

You’ve booked the venue and met with a few vendors. The big stuff is out of the way – but wow, it’s way too much work to do alone! We assist with selecting the final vendors and making suggestions for detailed items, based on your preferences and vision for your special day.

Wedding “Day of” Coordination

The hard work of planning the wedding is taken care of, but all those pieces need to be pulled together on event day. Every couple should be able to enjoy the guests and activities, but coordinating vendor arrivals, last minute set-ups and the handful of snafus that are bound to occur can take away from the fun. Let us handle those headaches so you can be stress free.

Social Events & Celebrations

Maybe you are too focused on the wedding day to let the other tasks like engagement parties, rehearsal dinners, post wedding brunch, guest activities, welcome bags, or showers slow you down. Luckily, our willing and able staff can help with all of that. We’ll meet to share your vision then, based on your direction, create the perfect pairings to your wedding celebration.

Decorations, Décor and Giveaways

Looking for that special centerpiece or magical element to highlight your theme? We can help. Our vendor partners never let us down, and can make even the most unique bloom request a reality.  Tying it all together, our linen rental program will provide the perfect match.

That’s why you need us

Our mission is to provide you with a worry-free and enjoyable experience – from beginning to end. We get to know you personally, understand your vision and your needs, providing the wedding you dreamed up yourself, without all the work and preparation it takes to execute it alone. No two weddings are ever alike, and we pride ourselves on customizing our services to fit your needs.  Contact us to see if your wedding date is available.

Selecting the Right Musical Entertainment for Your Wedding

The pros and cons of Live Music versus Disc Jockey for your reception

Before you choose a DJ or select that perfect band for your wedding celebration, reflect on the thoughts and visions you have for the ceremony, reception and beyond. Specific consideration to your own musical tastes, theme or style of the wedding and of course your budget are critical first thoughts. Once you have that figured out Consider the following:

Atmosphere

The type of music you select should complement the intended ambiance of your wedding. For example, if you want a subtle, yet romantic atmosphere, then a harpist or string quartet might be a consideration. Maybe you are having a toes-in-the-sand beach-side wedding where a calypso band would fit right in! Whatever your intention, set the mood with the right kind of music, but remember this is one of the things most people will remember about your reception.

Audience

Everyone is there to help you celebrate your big day, but they have expectations too! Carefully review your guest list to better understand who will be in attendance for your wedding. Based on the demographic, you will want to consider the type of music that will keep them entertained and enjoying the festivities. If your affair will be mostly family, with a high number of them being over 50 then the latest alternative rock band may not be the best choice.

Space

There are some very unique spaces which make great venues for your special day. Consider the space you have available to work with. If the space is segmented and chopped up, or if there is not ample space to house a band then a DJ may be the best way to go.

Variety

When your wedding guests are multi-generational assume that music requests will be wide and deep. Assuring that a vast selection across genres and time-periods are available. If your attendees are all similar in age and musical taste, then you can consider a music selection more targeted for those expected to be in attendance.

Bands

Pros

  • Live music is entertaining, even to non-dancers.
  • Great bands can bring a lot of energy and excitement to an event

Cons

  • Bands tend to be more expensive than DJs.
  • Bands are also unable to provide the variety of music you receive with a DJ.
  • If space is limited it might be tough to squeeze the entire band into one area.

DJs

Pros

  • DJs tend to be more budget friendly
  • DJs come prepared with special requests and can have all your favorite songs in queue.
  • Charismatic DJs can also act as emcee and keep the event rolling along
  • DJs require less space for set-up and performance than most bands.

Cons

  • For guests who don’t dance a DJ can be a bit underwhelming
  • A DJ with little personality, or who fails to click with the vibe of the audience, can bring the event down quickly.